State, lenders agree to wide-scale loan modifications in Calif.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California mortgage lenders Countrywide, GMAC, Litton and HomeEq announced today that they plan to follow the direction of FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair and institute systematic loan modifications for borrowers with resetting ARMs. This unprecedented move is expected to provide relief for tens of thousands of California borrowers and, if properly implemented, should serve as a model for other states experiencing record numbers of foreclosures. "Loan modifications that place borrowers into sustainable, affordable loans are the best ways to stem the foreclosure tide,"

Joint Letter: Improve H.R. 3915

The Honorable Barney Frank The Honorable Spencer Bachus Chairman Ranking Member House Financial Services Committee House Financial Services Committee Dear Chairman Frank and Ranking Member Bachus: We, the undersigned organizations, write to present our views on H.R. 3915, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007. While we greatly appreciate your efforts to reduce predatory lending and to restore balance to the mortgage market, we believe this bill requires improvements in the areas described below in order for the bill to achieve its goals. Subprime lending has been a

Joint Letter: H.R. 3915 is not strong enough

U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Representative: The undersigned groups are writing in anticipation of floor action on H.R. 3915, the "Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007." We appreciate the bipartisan effort on this important issue and look forward to working with the Congress to pass a strong law to protect consumers from predatory lenders. Unfortunately, however, despite some important consumer protections, we cannot support the legislation in its present form, given the lack of strong remedies for borrowers who receive unaffordable loans combined

North Carolina consumers don't miss payday lending

Take it from former payday borrowers: loan sharks who left the state will not be missed. A new report from the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks has found that the absence of the payday loan shops that once dotted North Carolina's strip malls and street corners has made little difference to most survey respondents. Of the former borrowers who have noticed a difference, twice as many report that they are better off without payday lending. This comes as no surprise to those who understand the predatory nature of payday lending. These loans are structured so that borrowers typically cannot pay

Subprime Foreclosure Spillover

Subprime foreclosures are resulting in a severe drain on property values—even for families paying their mortgages faithfully every month—and will cause 44.5 million homes to lose a total of $223 billion in wealth over the next few years, most of it in 2008 and 2009, according to the Center's report. In addition to foreclosed homeowners, the $223 billion drain—which amounts to $5,000 per nearby household—will have a severe impact on many cities and communities, because lower property values translate into less revenue to fund schools, hospitals, and other vital community organizations at the

Joint Statement by Consumer, Civil Rights, and Advocacy Groups re: H.R. 3915

We commend Chairman Frank and Representatives Watt and Miller for taking the lead in addressing the underlying problems that have led to the escalating foreclosure crisis in this country. Banning prepayment penalties in the subprime mortgage market, requiring lenders to assess each borrower's ability to repay, and eliminating the bonuses lenders now pay to brokers to put people in more expensive loans than those for which they qualify would go a long way to protecting families from the deceptive and abusive loans that ultimately lead to a decline in home ownership. We are glad the legislation

Helping Americans Keep Their Homes

As the nation's foreclosure epidemic continues to worsen, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has formed the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance (IFLA) to support groups giving legal representation to families facing foreclosure and financial ruin because of abusive subprime mortgages. The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) will manage the project, which recognizes that one of the biggest barriers families face to avoid losing their homes is the lack of access to quality legal services. The Institute, launched with a $15 million grant from investment management firm

Calhoun Statement: Reaction to the Democratic Leaders Plan on Foreclosures

We're glad leading members of Congress want to provide more legal and counseling help to the millions of families who have or will lose their homes to foreclosure because of reckless subprime lenders. Congress also must act quickly to change the bankruptcy code to allow judges to modify home loans on primary residences. Right now the code makes the family home the only asset the courts can't save from foreclosure, even though vacation and investment homes, family farms and commercial real estate can be protected. The change would help an estimated 600,000 families who face imminent danger of

Military Lending Act to take effect October 1

As U.S. soldiers face continuing demands in the call to protect their country, starting October 1 they gain an extra measure of protection from a lingering financial threat to their own families. The federal Military Lending Act will take effect Monday, and will bar predatory lenders from gouging military families with payday loans that trap borrowers in debt and typically carry 400 percent annual interest rates. The new law caps interest at 36 percent for the certain payday, auto title, and refund anticipation loans made to military families. "The 36 percent cap will slow the predatory

The Most Expensive Burger Ever

Millions of college students and other young adults aged 18 to 24 have become unwitting participants in overdraft loans that cost them nearly $1 billion a year in fees, a report released today by the nonprofit research group, Center for Responsible Lending, finds. The report, " Billion Dollar Deal ," says this age group -- which has been dubbed the "plastic generation" because of their reliance on debit and credit cards – pays over $3 in fees for every $1 borrowed in the form of a debit card overdraft. The resulting billion dollar bonanza for lenders -- often on small-purchase items such as a